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Hewlett-Packard leak probe included journalists Revelations that Hewlett-Packard Co. officials used questionable tactics in an internal investigation into media leaks have caught the attention of California’s attorney general, who’s launched his own probe into the computer maker. Attorney General Bill Lockyer subpoenaed some HP officials last week in a probe he characterized as still being in the “early fact-finding stage.” He refused to say whether criminal charges would be filed against Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, other directors or the private investigators HP hired to find out who leaked confidential information to the media. He said the state also could charge HP with civil violations and order the company to pay fines. The New York Times reported that the monitoring also targeted journalists. Third new office in three months for Ballard Spahr Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll has continued its geographic expansion with a third office opening in less than two months. The firm returned to the East Coast for the latest opening: an office in Bethesda, Md. This follows the firm’s July 17 opening of a Las Vegas office and the Aug. 1 start for its Phoenix office. In similar fashion to the previous expansions, Ballard Spahr has brought on a small group of attorneys from local Bethesda firm Linowes & Blocher. Attorney’s faxes found to be banned advertising A New York trial court judge has ruled that a lawyer’s faxed advisories about legal malpractice issues and cases are prohibited “unsolicited advertisements” because they indirectly highlight his availability to represent clients in such matters. Until last year, New York City practitioner Andrew Lavoott Bluestone wrote an “Attorney Malpractice Report” that he sent unsolicited to several lawyers whose fax numbers were listed in the New York Lawyers’ Diary and Manual. Peter Marc Stern sued Bluestone in New York trial court on the ground that the advisories violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Judge Jane S. Solomon of New York’s trial court ruled that the faxes “indirectly advertise the commercial availability and quality of such services.” Stern v. Bluestone, No. 111895/05. Blank Rome to link up with Healy & Baillie Philadelphia-based Blank Rome and Healy & Baillie will join their practices as of Oct. 1, with the combined firm housing the nation’s largest maritime practice. Healy & Baillie is ranked as one of the leading maritime law firms in the United States with a notable international practice and an office in Hong Kong, according to Blank Rome. The firm currently has 28 lawyers specializing in both maritime and general international commercial law. Blank Rome has nearly 500 attorneys serving clients across the United States. The firm has a strong middle Atlantic presence with offices in Philadelphia, New York City, New Jersey and Wilmington, Del. DOJ seeks Lay’s estate, and wants to change law U.S. Department of Justice lawyers filed a motion last week to recover more than $40 million from the estate of Kenneth Lay, the former chairman of Enron Corp. who was convicted of fraud on May 25, but died of a heart attack on July 6 before he could be sentenced. At the same time as it filed its motion, the Justice Department announced that it had drafted proposed legislation and was seeking sponsors in Congress to amend the criminal forfeiture procedural statute to eliminate the “doctrine of abatement,” which limits efforts to collect money allegedly derived from fraud from the survivors of deceased defendants. If passed, the proposed legislation would retroactively apply to Lay’s case, the government announced. Former Justice officials blast ‘Thompson’ memo A bipartisan group of 11 former senior Justice Department (DOJ) officials has written to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to protest the government’s tactics in investigating corporate wrongdoing, tactics that they see as “seriously eroding” attorney-client privilege. The letter, dated Sept. 5, adds to a growing chorus of criticism of the aggressive way in which the U.S. Department of Justice has pursued corporate-fraud investigations since the collapse of Enron in 2001. Signatories to the letter include former attorneys general Richard Thornburgh and Griffin Bell. Singled out for criticism are DOJ policies outlined in the 2003 “Thompson” memo, (named for former Deputy AG Larry Thompson) encouraging prosecutors to demand that companies under scrutiny waive the attorney-client privilege in return for more lenient treatment.

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